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Yemen's Al Qaeda kills two accused of spying for US

Al Qaeda militants have killed two men accused of spying for the US. The execution Comes after al Qaeda chief Nasir al-Wahishi was assassinated by a US drone strike, marking a setback for the group's leadership.

Militants of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) executed two men after they were accused of spying for the US. At least one of the two men executed in Mukalla, the capital of the Hadramout province, was a Saudi Arabian citizen.

Images posted by social media accounts affiliated with al Qaeda show two blindfolded men kneeling on a beach in Mukalla.

According to an eye-witness, the men were shot in front of a large group of residents.

"They put the two men on the corniche in the city of Mukalla…they opened fire at them in front of a big group of residents," a witness told Reuters news agency by phone.

Vengeance?

Following the execution, images displayed on al Qaeda-affiliated websites showed one of them men hanging from the main bridge in Mukalla with a banner stating "the House of Saud directs American planes to bomb the holy warriors," an apparent reference to the

assassination of Nasir al-Wahishi

the day before.

A US drone strike on Tuesday killed AQAP leader al-Wahishi, marking a major blow to the militant group's leadership.

Al-Wahishi was also second-in-command of al Qaeda's global network behind Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who heads the group.

Washington considers the AQAP the strongest and most active arm of al Qaeda.

US drone strikes have killed at least five other senior al Qaeda figures in Yemen this year. However, Yemen's security void following the

Houthi military campaign beginning in 2014

has provided the militant group with ample opportunity to expand.

In April, the

militant group seized a military base in Mukalla

after the Yemeni army withdrew from the area.

The Hadramout province has long been considered an al Qaeda stronghold.

ls/rc (Reuters, EFE)

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